The governing bodies of community schools are corporate bodies.
A corporate body has a legal identity separate from that of its members.
As the governing body has a separate legal identity, it is generally the governing body rather than individual governors which is legally responsible for the acts of the governors.
Parliament has given a range of duties and powers to governing bodies under the Education Acts. In a school like ours with a delegated budget they include the following:
- conducting the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement;
- setting appropriate targets for pupil achievement;
- taking general responsibility for the conduct of the school - in practice this should include how in broad strategic terms it should be run;
- managing the school’s budget;
- making sure that the curriculum for the school is balanced and broadly based and in particular that the National Curriculum and religious education are taught, and reporting on National Curriculum assessments and examination results;
- determining the staff complement and a pay policy for the school;
- participating in the appointment of the head and deputy head teacher and other staff and regulating staff conduct and discipline;
- establishing, following consultation with all staff, and reviewing annually a performance management policy for staff appraisal; and
- drawing up an action plan after an inspection.
In a school of our size, the governing body should comprise:
- 5 or 6 parents
- 3 or 4 people appointed from the community
- 3 or 4 people appointed by the LEA
- the head (unless he or she chooses not to be a governor)
- 2 or 3 staff
Partly because we have quite a large number of smaller ‘working groups’, we have opted for the larger complement of governors.